In a brief statement on its website
, University College London (UCL) said that Tim Hunt had resigned from his position as Honorary Professor with the university's Faculty of Life Sciences "following comments he made about women in science."
"UCL was the first university in England to admit women students on equal terms to men, and the university believes that this outcome is compatible with our commitment to gender equality," the statement added.
Hunt made his inflammatory remarks at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea. They were made public by a tweet from Connie St. Louis, director of the MA Science Journalism program at London's City University, who was also present at the meeting.
The scientist was swiftly condemned for his comments, with #TimHunt trending on Twitter. Although he later apologized in an interview with the BBC
for any offense his comments had caused, Hunt said that he stood by them.
"I did mean the part about having trouble with girls. It is true that people -- I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it's very disruptive to the science because it's terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field," he said. "I found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult.
"I'm really, really sorry I caused any offense, that's awful. I certainly didn't mean that. I just meant to be honest, actually," he added.
Reaction to his resignation on social media was mixed. Many people praised UCL for standing by its principles, however some questioned whether the outcome was a curb on free speech.
"Seems London's Professors are not allowed free speech at UCL as #TimHunt resigns. It's all @uclnews to me," tweeted Barbara Cookson, a European patent lawyer and IP expert.
Sexism in science
Others said the resignation didn't fix the deeper problem of sexism in science. According to the United Nations body UNESCO, 30% of the world's researchers are women, many of whom opt out at the highest levels required for a research career.